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Billionaire's wife seeking to void prenuptial agreement

Pennsylvania investors in the hedge fund Citadel may know that the fund's wealthy founder filed for divorce earlier this year. His wife is now claiming that the prenuptial agreement that the two had entered into on the eve of their 2003 marriage was a product of duress. These and other allegations were filed in response to the earlier divorce filing.

Under the agreement, she stands to be entitled to an amount that is approximately equal to only 1 percent of her husband's assets. She says that she received her husband's financial disclosures in July 2003, only three days before their planned wedding in Italy. According to the wife's filings with the court, the two got in a fight on that day and broke furniture. The husband then suggested that they see a psychologist. However, he failed to disclose to his soon-to-be wife that he was already the psychologist's patient. The psychologist recommended that the wife give in and sign the prenuptial agreement, which she did.

She now claims that she signed the agreement under duress and was unduly influenced by her husband and his psychologist under the guise of a couple's counseling session with a neutral third party. Additionally, she is asking for sole custody of their two children and for permission to move them to New York. To support her position that she would be the more appropriate parental figure to whom custody should be awarded, the wife says that her husband left the home in 2012 and rarely spends time alone with the couple's children. However, her husband denies all of the wife's claims.

Like any other contract, a court will refuse to uphold a prenuptial agreement if it finds that one of the signatories was fraudulently induced or coerced into signing it. In this case, if the agreement is in fact voided and the parties do not otherwise come to an accord, the court will determine what would be an equitable distribution of the couple's marital property.

Source: CNBC, "Anne Griffin Seeks to Void Prenuptial Agreement With Ken Griffin", Michael J. de la Merced, September 03, 2014

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